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ConCourt grants Umvutcha farmer's appeal over property caveats

by Staff reporter
19 Jun 2024 at 02:41hrs | Views
The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has granted an appeal to Alistair Michael Fletcher, an Umvutcha farmer, challenging a Supreme Court decision that overturned a High Court ruling regarding caveats placed on his property.

Represented by Bruce Masamvu of Masamvu and Da Silva-Gustavo Law Chambers, Fletcher filed the appeal against Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka, Robert Njani, and the Registrar of Deeds.

The dispute originated when the Bulawayo High Court, under Justice Christopher Dube-Banda, ordered Minister Masuka to remove caveats on Fletcher's Umguza Agricultural Lots and Reigate Farm. This decision was contested in the Supreme Court by Masuka and Njani, resulting in a reversal of the High Court's ruling.

Fletcher subsequently brought the matter to the ConCourt, where Justices Rita Makarau, Ben Hlatshwayo, and Bharatkumar Patel presided. Justice Patel, in his ruling on June 11, 2024, highlighted that Fletcher's appeal was based on the argument that his urban land could not be acquired under agricultural resettlement laws, as per Statutory Instrument 212 of 1999, which designated the land as part of the City of Bulawayo.

Justice Patel found that the lower court had misinterpreted and misapplied the law concerning the compulsory acquisition of agricultural land, both procedurally and substantively. He concluded that Fletcher's appeal had reasonable prospects of success, emphasizing the constitutional nature of the issue.

Therefore, the ConCourt granted leave to appeal against the Supreme Court's judgment, stating that it was in the interests of justice to do so. The ruling did not stipulate costs associated with the appeal.

Source - southeren eye